We simply weren't good enough

HARARE - How on earth does a team lift itself when it continues to be beaten the way Zimbabwe were beaten?

In the past, we have always been able to find positives to talk about, even if the team had not performed well.

We would always talk about the future of an upcoming player or the form of one of the senior players.

But this was undoubtedly the most disappointing tournament Zimbabwe has ever been to.

On Tuesday they were mesmerised by the flight and guile of the off-spinner Ajantha Mendis, and then blown away by the pace attack of South Africa two days later.

Admittedly, the pitch they played on against South Africa had a bit of moisture on due to an afternoon shower which assisted the South African seamers, but never before in all the history of Zimbabwean cricket has a team looked so exposed and so vulnerable.

Neither the batting nor the bowling was up to international standards whereas in tournaments gone by, either the batting or the bowling would have been one of the highlights to talk about.

When a team loses 14 consecutive matches, which is the case of Zimbabwe, it normally takes a monumental effort from a few players to get back onto a winning streak, but the problem at the moment is the entire batting order looks brittle and unsure as to how to go about constructing an innings while the seamers do not really seem to be bowling to a plan.

South Africa, on the other hand, looked as ruthless and as clinical as ever.

It could have been so easy for AB de Villiers to have batted first in order to give his batsmen, including himself, the opportunity to get used to the Sri Lankan conditions after their lengthy tour of England, but he went straight for the kill by taking advantage of the conditions on offer and bowling first.

The only slight criticism you could possibly have is that at times the field placing could and should have been more attacking but even so, the bowlers bowled to a plan and it worked.

Brendan Taylor was clearly a little rattled at the match presentation, and could anyone blame him?

In our hearts, we all know that Zimbabwe are a much better side than what we saw, but sadly, it would seem almost certain that yet another inquest will be done as to why the team played so badly?

The new season is upon us and because of the national team performing so poorly, interest in the domestic competitions may possibly be affected as well as companies who may have been interested to sponsor the national teams or domestic cricket.

When Taylor and the rest of the team return, one hopes they will embark on a soul-searching mission and that should they decide to have a long look at themselves, the mirror they use will not be a cracked one and that they will also realise they have not only disappointed themselves, but the entire nation which has always stood behind the team through thick and thin. - Dean du Plessis

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